The purpose of this website is to study the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It is useful for:
- Jehovah’s Witnesses who are doing research for themselves on Watchtower teachings
- Christians who would like to share the truth with Jehovah’s Witnesses
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Transcript of the video above
Jehovah’s Witnesses are a group claiming the Bible as the basis for the teachings. Their origins can be traced to 1879 when their founder Charles T. Russell began publishing the Watchtower magazine. Russell predicted this Armageddon would come by 1914 at the latest and expressed this conviction in his book The Time is at Hand, published in 1889.
“the battle of the great day of God Almighty which will end in AD 1914 with a complete overthrow of Earth’s present rulership is already commenced.”
Despite the failure of Russell’s prediction the movement teaspoon has continued to grow. After all 1914 happened to coincide with the outbreak of World War I so successive leaders were able to pin that theology on 1914 as a date of significance. In the centuries since Russell’s death in 1916, more predictions for the end of the world as we know it have been offered with the dates 1925 and 1975 most notable for their failure to yield the promised apocalypse.
When I was growing up as a Witness in the eighties, the teaching was that Amageddon would come before the generation of people who witnessed the events of 1914 died off. That teaching has since been scrapped and the current teaching is rather complicated and frankly makes very little sense. But suffice to say Jehovah’s Witnesses believe the end will come eminently. They also believe that when Armageddon strikes, every man, woman and child who is not a Jehovah’s Witness will be worthy of death. To stress this point, if governing body member Anthony Morris recently told Witnesses in Trinidad that they are blood-guilty I’m deserving of annihilation if they don’t sufficiently share in the life-saving preaching work. “If your hands are not clean because you been out warning, then they have blood on them and you’re going to lose your life.”
Death threats, fear-mongering and failed predictions aside, the most disturbing elements of the Jehovah’s Witness religion involved the organization’s abusive policies and disregard for human rights. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to leave their religion if they so choose. But when you are baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness, you pledge yourself to the organization for life. If you ever decide to leave, your close friends and family are ordered to shun you and treat you as though you don’t exist.
The religion also has a growing reputation for covering up child abuse on an astonishing scale. In 2015 when the Royal Commission in Australia ordered the local branch to turn over its record, it found 1006 JW child molesters in that country alone have had their crimes carefully documented since 1950 with not a single one being reported to authorities. Multiple lawsuits in other countries indicate that something called the two-Witness rule combined with the Witness culture of secrecy, trusting congregation Elders and the onus on forgiveness of sin, created an environment in which children are at risk from predators, who can operate almost with impunity.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are also known for teaching that the Bible prohibits blood transfusions. The Bible is actually silent about the medical use of blood because people only started transfusing it in the 19th century. But that hasn’t stopped Witness leaders from teaching their followers since 1945 that death is preferable to receiving a blood transfusion. Witnesses who are hospitalized in a critical condition can even expect to have a team of Elders visit them at the bedside to remind them of the need to stay loyal to this teaching. All things considered, you may be wondering why anyone would willingly become a Jehovah’s Witness. You might even think you’d have to be stupid to get involved with the group. But it really isn’t that simple. Many witnesses are indoctrinated from when they are small children and those who join as adults often do so because they are emotionally vulnerable and need the sense of community and absolute certainty the Witness beliefs offer. Bottom line, if you happen to know who Jehovah Witness, please be kind to them and don’t assume you can snap them out of their beliefs easily. Witnesses tend to be extremely emotionally invested in what they believe and leading them towards the exit requires an abundance of kindness, patience and understanding.